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During my field visits to Heifer India’s project sites, I’ve learned some crucial on-the-job lingo. On my first day I read through a report filled with references to “POG”, “OG”, “PP”, “LSE”, “PPMIS”, CAWH”, etc… you get the idea... constantly having to look up what each one meant. Now a little older, a little wiser, I still don’t know many of them- but I do know the ones we use daily!

 SHG: Self Help Group

 PMC: Project Management Committee

When visiting the villages, we meet with several different Self Help Groups, groups of approximately 20 women who meet regularly to participate in Cornerstone Trainings and monitor money in their group account. The group members support each other emotionally and sometimes financially, partner with other groups, and make significant changes in their own lives as well as within the community.

The Project Management Committee is made up of several members from various groups in a community. The PMC results from each group selecting a member to represent their needs and discuss ideas and trainings with other selected PMC members. The PMC is truly representative of the groups as it is chosen by the groups themselves.

During a workshop involving potential project partners in Bihar, several members of the PMC traveled to the meeting to talk with the heads of several organizations. Confident in their work, they sat in front of the room and described their micro-loaning system, village hygiene improvement initiatives, and the 100 percent school enrollment rate of their girls. The partners asked questions, and because the PMCs were wisely chosen by their groups, the women were able to answer them easily, knowing all of the groups' information.

The “SHGs” and “PMCs” are more than acronyms I throw around to sound professional. They are unifying entities that help to actually apply the Cornerstone concepts in these project areas.

Both the women of the SHG, and by extension the PMC, are visibly proud of their work in the villages and are excited to do so much more.

Author

Maggie Carroll